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LaGrange police chief notes decrease in auto traffic

The LaGrange Police Department has seen a significant decrease in traffic accidents since the county issued a state of emergency. 

“It has probably been a 40 to 45 percent decrease,” said LPD Chief Lou Dekmar. 

Dekmar said there hasn’t been an increase or decrease over the last few weeks, as the pandemic has started to affect everyday life in Georgia.  

“Crime is pretty consistent with what we had before, and it’s continued,” Dekmar said. “It has just continued to be steady.” 

Before COVID-19, LPD began to see entering auto crimes.

“We’ve seen a spike in theft since the beginning of the year,” Dekmar said. “This is an upward trend that has continued through the year.” 

According to Troup County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Stewart Smith, during the month of March, TCSO investigated double the amount of entering auto cases compared to 2019. 

Smith said that he doesn’t think it is directly attributed to COVID-19 and the pandemic. 

During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Brian Kemp said his office has heard from multiple health care facilities about an increase in incidents of domestic violence.

“As we continue to fight this virus, our office is receiving reports that are concerning and deserve the public’s immediate attention,” Kemp said. “We have been told by one area Atlanta hospital that they are seeing a 15 percent increase in domestic violence cases at their facilities. This is disturbing and alarming and it cannot be tolerated. If you or someone you know needs help, I would ask you to call the Georgia Domestic Violence Hotline.” 

For those in need, the Georgia Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-334-2836. 

“We are also seeing a reduction in reports of child abuse, likely a consequence of our educators not having as much face time with Georgia students,” Kemp said. “Teachers and administrators are often the first ones to see the signs of abuse and now with schools closed we must remain vigilant about this problem and continue to work to remedy it. If you are a child in crisis or know of someone who needs help, I would urge you to reach out to the Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services.” 

The Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services can be reached at 1-855-422-4453.